King Lear

On Nothingness: Relationships in the Absence of Possessions in "King Lear" and "As You Like It" 12th Grade

In Shakespeare’s play King Lear, King Lear tells his daughter Cordelia that, “Nothing will come of nothing”(Shakespeare 1.1.99). This idea of nothingness plays a major role in Shakespeare’s King Lear and As You Like It. King Lear is a tragedy that follows a king and his three daughters as the younger generation lies and deceives the king to take over the throne. In contrast, As You Like It follows the niece and daughter of a tyrant as they are banished from the kingdom, adventure into the wilderness, and eventually both find love. Although the two plays are extremely different, they both focus on the importance of a person’s morals and actions once all physical belongings have been stripped away.

In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, close relationships are formed when each of the character’s power and possessions are taken away. When Rosalind is banished from the kingdom by her Uncle, her cousin Celia chooses to leave with her, forfeiting her life of comfort and power as the future heiress of the Kingdom, saying, “shall we part, sweet girl? No! Let my father seek another heir. Therefore devise with me how we may fly” (1.3.106-108). Celia places tremendous values on the relationship she shares with her cousin, so much so that she...

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